Beyond Napa– 5 Other Wine Regions to Visit

Napa Valley trip

The United States boasts a remarkably robust network of wineries, wine trails, and wine-related activities. But who wants to drop a ton of cash for a bottle of wine or a wine tasting? I love affordable wine that is delicious and accessible to working people. Wine tourism in the US is alive & well in places like Sonoma and Napa. But also in new emerging wine regions around the US that are less well-known, but just as good– or better. Sometimes they are right outside your back door.

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Beyond Napa– 5 Other Wine Regions to Visit

American Wine Trails You Can Afford

A wine trail is a collection of wineries that have decided that there is strength in numbers, therefore promoting themselves as a collective. I love wine, however, I don’t believe you have to spend a fortune to enjoy it. Napa Valley and Sonoma are just two of 100+ wine trails in the US. And many of them are quite expensive, otherwise inaccessible to the masses of hardworking folk like me. And although I am sure there are more wineries offering free or affordable wine to active duty military. Nevertheless, here are four, we got to experience on our last trip there.

Luckily, there are a few wine regions outside California with more reasonable prices. And the wine is delicious, too.

Click this link to read all about the beauty of Peoria, IllinoisNavigating the Beauty of Peoria in the Sky and on the River.

Other Wine Regions Besides Napa

Check out Your Local Wineries

The idea is to go beyond Napa. Visit your local wineries and breweries. They are doing some great things in the industry that are just as good or better— way more reasonably priced and accessible to you. And from Alabama to Wyoming, you’ll find a wine trail ready to pour you a glass. there are more than a hundred wine trails the Us in every state from Alabama to Wyoming. I’m not claiming that all of them are good. I’m just saying we’ve got options.

Currently, I’m in Kansas and there is a popular wine trail here. Some are good, others not so much. But chances are, if check them out, you will probably find something you like. I did. And all of them tend to have a real commitment to their community that should be rewarded. I’ve written about a few of them: Liquid Art Winery, Prairie Fire, and Bluejacket Crossing.

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Grand Valley, CO
Plan a Multi-day Wine Tasting Excursion

Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in the union. There are rivers, canyons, mesas, and mountains to explore, as well as some 22 up-and-coming wineries in one of the country’s most exciting yet unknown wine regions.

It makes sense that some of that land would have some wonderful wineries to explore. And one of the best ways to explore wineries in the Grand Valley (Palisade and Grand Junction) area is on two wheels. You can easily spend a few days visiting more than 20 wineries. There are some lovely bed and breakfast and amazing restaurants to sample the local cuisine and hospitality.

I’ve found some of my favorite places on road trips; check this place out on Lake Michigan.

Colorado Mountain Winefest

The Colorado Mountain Winefest is held in Palisade every September. including Wine, Dine & Paint, Scenic Bus Tours across premium wine regions, gourmet cider pairings, VIP wine tasting, and a SOMM screening, Chocolate & Wine Tastings, a Grape Growing Seminar, Farmer’s Market and The Festival in the Park. Save the date.

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Finger Lakes, NY
The Largest Wine Region in the US

I knew there were other wine regions besides Napa because I had visited the Finger Lakes as a young adult. Finger Lakes Wine Country is home to three distinct wine trails, each offering exciting wine and food pairing events throughout the year. Spectacular Chardonnays, Rieslings, pinot noirs attract wine lovers from all over the world. And New York State is now one of the largest wine trails in the country.

Three well-organized wine trails help visitors most of the time. The trails often include wine and food pairing, barbecues, and festivals. In addition, wine country also offers excellent restaurants, markets, breweries, and distilleries. And the best part? It hasn’t been overtaken by tourists and developers yet — so there won’t be horrendous crowds to fight when you visit the famous gorges at Watkins Glen State Park in the morning. Head to one of more than 100 wineries in the afternoon.

Read all about our road trip– Marriott Hotels Only: 30 Day Roadtrip Across America.

Finger Lakes Wine Annual Festival

We attended the Finger Lakes Wine Festival last year and it’s definitely a worthwhile event. It is held at the beautiful Watkins Glen International every year in July. Save the date. It is the largest one-stop venue for New York State wines, local artisans, musicians, culinary and wine pairing classes.

Recommend: Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars

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Charlottesville, VA

Tiny and midsize wineries continue to open up in the area. I tend to favor places like Charlottesville over other wine regions like Napa. They are growing grapes like Viognier (my fav), cab franc, and petit verdot). The state now boasts over 300 wineries. It’s an affordable wine vacation for folks in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Virginia has nearly 200 days in their growing season.

Recommended: Barboursville and Veritas Wineries

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Hill Country, TX

Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the Texas Hill Country wine region, which spans 9 million acres, making it the second-largest wine region in the nation. The dry, sunny Texas Hill Country climate is well suited for growing grapes like Tempranillo, Syrah, Albarino, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. The Texas Hill Country is generally used to refer to all land in the winegrowing region north of San Antonio and west of Austin.

Forty-six local wineries are located between Austin and New Braunfels. And the warm-dry weather makes taking a self-guided wine tour possible year-round. Fredericksburg, a city founded by German immigrants, is a great place to start.

Check out this post about the 10 Best Artsy Places in Little Rock Arkansas.

Fredericksburg

“Willkommen” signs greet you everywhere you go. German pride– black, red, and yellow flags fly high over homes and businesses and Wienerschnitzel can be found on every menu in town.

Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Fredricksburg. The local wineries are what people flock to. Becker Winery has a nice selection of wines— one of the best Rieslings I’ve had outside of Germany. There are reds, blends and a Port Steven couldn’t pass up. The $18 wine tasting fee is waived for active-duty military.

Recommended: Becker Winery

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Saint Charles, MO

Missouri is perhaps most famous for its “Missouri Rhineland” – a wine-growing region first settled by German immigrants more than a century ago. It’s a legacy of the German immigrants who settled along the Missouri River between St. Louis and Kansas City is fast becoming renowned for wine tourism in the US. As a result, it is ranked 10th in wine production. Saint Charles boasts lovely Bed & Breakfasts that perfect for weekend getaways.

The first winery was founded in 1837, one of 60 local wineries at one point. Prohibition killed the wine business, but it had a rebirth in the 1960s. Now Missouri has 56 wineries and 1,200 acres of vineyards, virtually all planted in French hybrid and native grapes.

Recommended: Chandler Hill Winery

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Comments

  1. Vanessa

    If I only had the money to visit one, which one would you recommend? I live in Tennessee and am not an avid drinker, but I’m interested in taking a road trip this summer.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      If I could only choose one, I’d pick Charlottesville because there is so much variety, the area is beautiful and the wine is reasonable and accessible.

  2. Nicole

    I have always wanted to visit Napa Valley, but we have visited some vineyards that are much closer to us. I’ll have to look into the others that you listed as well, thanks for sharing!

  3. Liza Perry

    My french husband family is a wine one. I loved reading your posts and would definitely add your share to my list!

  4. aareeba

    wow i really liked all the places and will definitely try to plan one for my next trip. Wine trips are something which i have always wanted to go

  5. Joanna

    When I travel I am always interested in the local wines and I do try to find a place where I can try them out. I have never been to the States before but if I do I will keep in mind all these wonderful destinations for wine lovers.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Hey Courtney– you are a lucky girl. Why don’t you like Upstate New York? I grew up there and hated it, but its much better now that I’m an adult.

  6. Eileen Mendoza Loya

    I have only done a wine tour once and it was an experience to treasure. I wish I could do more, and if that happens, I will visit these wineries you’ve suggested in this post.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Hmm, you should Google it. I now the UK isn’t especially known for its wine, I bet you’d be surprised to find a few within day tripping distance. lol

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Oh yes Christie, these are just thrones I’ve visited. But there are other regions. The key is to visit your local wineries, you are sure to find something you like.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      If you embark on a road trip multi day drinking opportunities is definitely possible. That’s why wine regions are so awesome so you can taste from different wineries and styles.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Yup, although I usually go with my husband these days. Its a cool thing to do with girlfriends or your mom too..

  7. Preet

    Oh wow! Thank you for posting this detailed post. My husband is a wine lover and he will be really happy if he can go on a trip in here.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Hey Gavin, I couldn’t;t even get to all the wineries in the Finger Lakes– over 300 of them to choose from.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Yup, gotta Google and you’ll find that there are 100+ wine trails across the country. Some good, some okay, some… well you know. But you’ll never know unless you check them out.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Nope there are more than a hundred wine trails the Us in every state from Alabama to Wyoming. I’m not claiming that all of them a re good. I’m just saying we’ve got options.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Haha Teri. I beat you to it, I hope everyone finds their local wineries because they often have good wine and are much more reasonable than the big guys in Napa and Sonoma.

  8. kumamonjeng

    I did a road trip in California last winter but too bad I missed Napa. I heard about the winery in Napa but due to time constraint I missed it. Now looking at your picture, I could imagine, I am tasting great wine with the stunning mountain backdrop. You make me wanted to fly back to California once more but that is 17 plus hours for me!!

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I love road tripping in California. We drove from Seattle to Nap/ Sonoma then to San Francis and back to Seattle last year. We had a blast. You didn’t miss anything really. If you get a chance, check it out. But like I said there are so many wine region options in the US.

  9. Devyani Ray

    Some people will disagree, but I think Napa is overrated! There are so many other good winery spots. You have listed some great one’s

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I agree, Napa and Sonoma are hella expensive. Hal for example has good wine, but a wine tasting at their Napa winery is $40 per person. There’s no way I would have tried the wine if they didn’t give free tastings to military personnel.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I agree we should get out of our comfort zones, trying new things and search for things to do in our own backyard. There are tons of local wineries— get out and check them out.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Napa is ok, but if I had a choice, I’d hit up the wineries in Charlottesville before Napa or Sonoma. The wine is just as good and far less pretentious and expensive.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      So true. I love road tripping and wine. I look forward to exploring a few more wine regions next year– and nit just for the wine. lol

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Rikki, there has to be a winery or two in your area. I read every state has some. Google it girl and get yourself to the nearest winery.

  10. Sue-Tanya Mchorgh

    I do love wine. I think i would love to visit any winery on the trails. I need to look into local wineries I can hang out in.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Yes you do. Saturday afternoon bring out nice crowds and maybe live music if theres a Sunday brunch, theres a chance for some yummy food along with the wine

  11. Catherine Santiago Jose

    This is such a great post and very informative as well. Loved to visit these places when we go to America.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I love that many of these wineries have weddings, events or just open for lunch or a special occasion like Morhers Day brunch.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      You dont have to like or love wine— often the food is delicious. When you don’t want chicken nuggets you can enjoy something nice with your hubby. I llove that many of these wineries have weddings, events or just open for lunch or a special occasion like Mother’s Day brunch.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Its nice to try new things, you dont have to like or love wine— often the food is delicious. When you want something a little romantic— they are open for lunch or a special occasion like Mother’s Day brunch.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      The idea is to go beyond Napa. Visit your local wineries and breweies. They are doing some great things in the industry that are just as good or better and way more reasonably priced.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Inexpensive taste way better than expensive wine especially if I’m buying, lol. We used to have a wine night in Germany where we capped it at $8 per bottle and I have to say, I never drank better.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I hope you get a chance to visit some of the wine trails here. I am a huge fan of Charlottesville for its wine and history.

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